Louisiana Rice Growers introduce workbook to help prepare for LEAP

Louisiana’s rice farmers want to teach fourth-grade students a lesson.

The Louisiana Rice Promotion Board, which represents the state’s rice farmers, has created a workbook specifically for Louisiana fourth-grade students. The workbook contains exercises, questions and information designed to help fourth graders prepare for the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) examinations, the state’s standardized achievement tests which are scheduled for the first week of April.

About 17,000 fourth-grade students in 27 rice-growing parishes have received copies of the workbook.

The workbook, titled “Louisiana Rice AWESOME,” has sections on language arts, math, and social studies. All the information in the workbook is based on rice farming and the rice industry in Louisiana. It was developed with input from Louisiana elementary school teachers.

“Education is extremely important to rice farmers and millers because so many in our industry have children,” explained Kevin Berken, chairman of the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board. “We also want to promote awareness and understanding of the rice industry. We hope that the students, teachers and parents will have a greater appreciation of the rice farming industry because of this project.”

The workbook contains the story of a fictional rice farmer, Harvey Heinen, and relates how his farm helps support his family and fuel the local economy. By reading the workbook and doing the exercises, students will get a better understanding of rice farming and how it is integrated into Louisiana’s culture and commerce. They also will sharpen their skills in preparation for the LEAP examinations.

Louisiana is the nation’s third-leading leading rice producer with approximately 500,000 acres planted each year. The rice industry contributes hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the state’s economy.

“This will be a tremendous curriculum supplement,” said Dr. Paul J. Theriot, Louisiana Department of Education. “This material is aligned with Louisiana’s curriculum benchmarks and Grade Level Expectations. Additionally, it puts these concepts into real life terms allowing students to make the connection between the academic concepts that they learn with their every day lives.”

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